"During the two decades covered by Soul of a Nation, ending in the early 1980s, the choice of whether, and how, to make art ‘black’ was a lively issue. And the show—organized by Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley, curators at the Tate, and overseen in New York by Ashley James, an assistant curator at the Brooklyn Museum — is, among many other things, about the varied and inventive solutions artists came up with.
Certain early responses feel almost counterintuitive. In the same years that [Norman] Lewis was injecting topical stories into abstract painting, Roy DeCarava was experimenting with making photographic portraiture abstract. The face of the young woman in his famous image Mississippi Freedom Marcher, Washington, D.C., 1963 has the weight of a monument. But a shot of John Coltrane from the same year has an aura-like blur, and a picture called Face Out of Focus is a featureless glow, undefined by race or gender."
Read the full review in The New York Times
Cover Image: Roy DeCarava, Mississippi Freedom Marcher, Washington, D.C., 1963 (detail). 2018 The Estate of Roy DeCarava. All Rights Reserved